Understanding the basis of behaviour is a complicated but rich area of study. The Psychological and Behavioural Sciences course at Cambridge is particularly well suited to prepare students for this challenge because it integrates the social, cultural, clinical and biological aspects of studying behaviour across the course. PBS is a relatively new course within the University, which combines the Department of Psychology’s many strengths in areas such as cognitive neuroscience, neurobiology, social psychology and developmental psychology. It is an exciting course, which allows students to build firm foundations in the core areas of psychology, including research methods, in both first and second year, before specialising to a greater extent in their final year. The final year also includes a compulsory project or dissertation, giving students experience of working on a research study. PBS Students all follow a core training in Psychology but also have the opportunity to compliment this by choosing from a selection of related papers offered from other departments, ranging from computer science to philosophy. More details about the course can be found on the University website. For a short video on the PBS course see here.
We aim to admit three or four students a year for PBS and so you will be part of a cohort of around ten students in the College at any one time. There are no specific subjects which you need to have studied at school but if you have any of Maths, Biology or Chemistry you will be at an advantage over candidates who have none of these subjects.
Studying PBS at Murray Edwards
PBS at Murray Edwards College is supported by excellent facilities for study and a close enthusiastic network of students, postgraduates and Fellows that study Psychology. Each year we have a subject-specific dinner to help foster a mixing of all the college members involved in Psychology. The reading materials which support the lectures in the course are readily available in the Rosemary Murray Library, which is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Students can also engage beyond their PBS topics in the student societies Murray Edwards Social Sciences Society (MESSS) and/or the Franklin Society (Science). Finally, a network of student alumni is steadily growing since the PBS tripos started. Past PBS students have gone on to a range of career prospects from continued postgraduate study to Clinical Psychology, Business, HR, Marketing and more.
Our Director of Studies is Dr Emma Cahill, who specialises in Neurobiology and experimental psychology, with a particular focus on addiction and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Dr Juliet Foster is the College’s Senior Tutor and a University Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology, specialising in understandings of health and illness (especially mental health). Additionally, Dr Thomas Cope is a Bye Fellow who specialises in clinical neuroscience as well as being a specialist registrar in neurology.
Admissions Assessments and Interview Arrangements
As with all applicants for PBS, if you apply to Murray Edwards then you will be required to sit the PBS Admissions Assessment in your school, college or registered test centre in early November. You will also be required to submit some written work from your school studies.
If you are invited to interview then you will have two subject-specific interviews at Murray Edwards with our Fellows in PBS and related disciplines.
If you receive an offer from Murray Edwards College then it will usually be the standard University offer of A*AA at A Levels, 40-42 points in the International Baccalaureate (IB) with 776 at Higher Level (HL) or equivalents in other qualifications. We are likely to specify the subject in which we wish you to achieve the top grade.
What our students say
“Studying PBS at Murray Edwards is an eye-opening opportunity because all supervisors and fellows provide exceptional guidance and support. In addition, the PBS course structure allows the exploration of other subjects through optional papers which I feel is fundamental to broaden one's knowledge overall and to develop into truly open-minded individuals.” Margot, Part 1B 2017